Make way for multi-channel: research heralds an end to email-only outreach

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Caroline Fletcher
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Lead rates from email-only outreach fell drastically last year, while those from multi-channel continued to climb, according to new research from sales technology specialist Sopro.

A 22% drop in success rates for email-only outreach occurred in 2023 vs 2022. This corresponded to an increase in the number of marketing emails by 49% as businesses battled for attention from prospects.

Three quarters of B2B companies surveyed believe that marketing results are better when email prospecting is combined with other outbound marketing channels, while 68% agree that email prospecting complements inbound marketing channels.

Email still holds a vital role in outreach strategy, however. 67% of buyers said they prefer to be contacted by email than any other channel, while 88% want to hear from suppliers when researching a purchasing decision.

The landscape remains challenging. An average of four stakeholders are now involved in the decision-making process, up from 3.6 in 2023. 11% of companies have between six and nine people involved. When asked to list their main marketing concerns in 2023, respondents cited lead generation (46%), lead quality (38%) and generating quality content (36%).

Sopro analysed data from more than 75.2 million emails and combined them with insights from over 350 sales and marketing professionals, outlined in the State of Prospecting 2024 whitepaper. The study comes as businesses prepare for new regulations by Google and Yahoo, which are due to be enforced from February 2024. These will apply to anyone who sends more than 5,000 emails per day, in a bid to clamp down on spam.

Ryan Welmans, CEO and co-founder at Sopro said: “It is clearly a tough environment for businesses and marketing professionals, with increased competition and stricter regulations on the way, against a constantly evolving economic backdrop. But this also presents an opportunity for those who have the knowledge and tools to follow best practice and stand out from the crowd.

“The new regulations echo a belief that we have always held at Sopro – that emails should be personalised, relevant and value-driven. When combining expertise with new tools – in particular AI – businesses can offer recipients real personalisation that goes beyond email and that can be maximised across all relevant channels. We hope that the information in this new whitepaper will act as a practical guide for sales and marketing professionals, prompting them to set strong multi-channel strategies for 2024 and beyond.”

Another new development is that 18% of people are happy to be contacted by post, which is more than double the number in the previous year. This suggests that personalised direct mail could be highly valuable for intelligent prospecting.

The research indicated that gifting can increase lead quality by 36.1%. Branded merchandise was reported to be the next most successful gift (49%), with beers, wine, or spirits at 44%. Disappointingly for the planet, tree planting was the least used gift option, with 45% of survey respondents failing to redeem the gift.


About Sopro:

Sopro is an award-winning marketing technology and services provider that specialises in innovative multi-channel B2B sales engagement.

Headquartered in UK, with offices in Miami, Brighton and Skopje, the company employs over 300 experts to support more than 500 businesses spanning over 60 sectors.

Sopro’s powerful platform enables businesses to source and engage prospects through a mix of coordinated outreach channels. Its multichannel prospecting format has powered over 15,000 campaigns, connecting businesses with their target customers on a one-to-one basis using personalised, conversational introductions that flow naturally into the sales pipeline.

The company was founded in 2015 by CEO Ryan Welmans and Chief Innovation Officer Rob Harlow. Privately owned and funded, Sopro is now a £18M+ turnover business with 300 employees, making it one of the fastest growing B2B marketing technology companies in the world.